DockYard in the News: Accessible Web Design

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Visually impaired man sitting on bench using phone

Companies trying to enhance user experiences through digital design should give more consideration to creating fully accessible applications and websites, UX Development Manager David Luhr writes for VentureBeat.

Nearly one in three Americans live with a disability, but almost all homepages for the top one million websites lack accessibility features, such as screen readers, braille readers, voice input, and motion tracking. Accessible design takes into account all potential users and ensures web accessibility best practices are included from the beginning of any software, mobile, or web development project.

Accessibility has long been a consideration for regulated industries and utilities, such as telecommunications and energy. It’s now considered a must have across industries that touch all parts of our lives — from financial services and healthcare to eCommerce, transportation, fitness, and media and entertainment.

There are several common accessible design issues that can be fixed easily. Companies that want to start integrating more accessible features can —

Fix low color contrast: High contrast between text color and background will improve readability and boost engagement.

Add alternative text for images: Descriptive alt text helps users with low or no vision better understand image context and improves their ability to make decisions about elements on a page, enhancing interaction.

Provide descriptive text: Like alt text for images, icon links and buttons need descriptive text to help some users. Hidden text that can be read by assistive technologies allows users to understand what actions are available without impacting design choices.

DockYard integrates accessibility for the web as a natural part of the digital product development process, from product strategy, design, and engineering to testing and QA. Consider the following tips to create accessible design and improve usability:

  • Ensure content is well-structured, semantic, and simple.
  • Use legible typography and colors with sufficient contrast.
  • Use animation responsibly.
  • Provide text alternatives for various media.

Read more from David in his VentureBeat feature, Accessibility is an opportunity, not a burden.

DockYard is a digital product agency offering custom software, mobile, and web application development consulting. We provide exceptional professional services in strategy, user experience, design, and full stack engineering using Ember.js, React.js, and Elixir. With a nationwide staff, we’ve got consultants in key markets across the United States, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Austin, New York, and Boston.